FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2012
With Negotiations Ongoing With Iran Over Nuclear Weapons: SCHUMER TO ADMINISTRATION: DON’T RELAX SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN, UNTIL IRAN COMMITS TO COMPLETELY ABANDON NUCLEAR WEAPON PROGRAM
Schumer: Nuclear Iran Poses the Greatest Threat Israel Has Faced in Decades
Calls on Administration to Hold Iran to 3-Criteria before Revoking Sanctions: Shut Down Nuclear Enrichment Plant, Stop Enrichment of Uranium, and Transfer Enriched Uranium Out of Iran
Sanctions Working Better Than Previously Anticipated; U.S. Should Not Fall for Iran’s Feints, But Keep Pressure on Until They Completely Abandon Nuclear Weapon Program
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, at the Celebrate Israel Parade today, called on the Obama administration in its ongoing talks with the Iran, to continue sanctions unless Iran agrees to fully dismantle its nuclear weapon program. Last week, talks began between the United States, other members of the UN Security Council, and Iran over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Schumer said it was crucial that the United States not back down on any sanctions against Iran unless three conditions are met: that Iran shut down its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo that is widely suspected of being the site of Iran’s nuclear weapons development; that it stop all enrichment of uranium used to make nuclear weapons; and that it transfer the uranium it has enriched out of the country to a trusted partner country. Schumer noted that given the Iranian regime’s long track record of delay, lies and deception, it is essential to hold Iran accountable to these stringent measures without backing down, and today he urged the Administration to hold fast to three points to ensure that Iran is not able to acquire a nuclear weapon.
“Iran poses the greatest threat that Israel has faced in decades, and that’s why it’s essential that we not back down and revoke sanctions unless Iran agrees to fully shut down their nuclear program,” said Schumer. “Sanctions against Iran are working better than anyone anticipated, and we must continue to make clear to Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences to supporting terrorism. We must not budge one single inch until they fully dismantle their attempts to obtain a nuclear weapons capability.”
Last week, the P5+1 talks – comprised of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – with Iran over its nuclear program began in Baghdad. The negotiations are an opportunity for the Iranians to reach a peaceful settlement with the international community by abandoning their pursuit of an illegal nuclear weapons capability. Given the Iranian regime’s track record, however, Schumer noted that he has remained extremely skeptical about its willingness to engage in good faith diplomacy.
Today, in a letter to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Schumer called on the Administration to be guided by three requirements during negotiations that must be agreed to by the Iranian government to ensure that Iran actually dismantles its nuclear weapons program. First, Schumer said Iran must shut down its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo, widely suspected to be the site of Iran’s nuclear weapon development. Second, he argued that Iran must stop all enrichment of uranium until the country demonstrates –and the international community verifies –that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons. And third, Iran must transfer the uranium it has enriched to 20% out of the country to a trusted partner country. Schumer pointed out that once a country starts enriching uranium to more than 20 percent, it can quickly boost that uranium to weapons-grade material of 95 percent. Without uranium at this grade it will be impossible for Iran to make nuclear weapons.
Schumer noted that international sanctions are having a significant impact on the Iranian economy, making it increasingly difficult for Iran to sell its oil on the global market. In addition, Iran’s currency, the rial, is severely declining, and the cost of Iran’s critical imports continues to escalate. Because of these impacts, Schumer argued, sanctions should not be relaxed unless Iran fully commits to ending its nuclear program.
A copy of Schumer’s letter is below.
Mr. Tom Donilon
National Security Advisor
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
Ms. Catherine Ashton
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Council of the European Union Rue de la Loi 175, B-1048 Brussels, Belgium
Dear Mr. Donilon:
I write to express my strong support for the administration’s efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. I appreciate your efforts to build an international partnership determined to ensuring that the sanctions against Iran are enforced and that those who violate those sanctions are punished, especially as the Iranian regime continues to threaten the international community with its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.
As you know, international sanctions are having a genuine impact on the Iranian economy, and it is becoming increasingly problematic for Iran to sell its oil on the global market. The rial is severely declining, and the cost of Iran’s critical imports continues to escalate. The international community is now more united than ever, but broader support to enact and enforce sanctions is critical. I believe it is in everyone’s interest to continue making it clear to Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences to supporting terrorism and attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
The P5+1 negotiations with Iran are a long string of opportunities for the Iranians to reach a peaceful settlement with the international community by abandoning their pursuit of an illegal nuclear weapons capability. Many hope they will seize this chance. Given the Iranian regime’s long track record of delay, lies and deception, however, I remain extremely skeptical about its willingness to engage in good faith diplomacy. For this reason, it is critical for the United States and our partners to be guided by three sticking points during these negotiations.
1. Iran must shut down its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo.
2. Iran must stop all enrichment of uranium.
3. Iran must transfer the uranium it has enriched to 20% out of the country to a trusted partner country.
The United States and its partners must not draw back on any sanctions against Iran unless all of these conditions are met and implemented. I believe it is in everyone’s interest to continue making it clear to Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences to supporting terrorism and attempting to develop nuclear weapons. The cost of inaction is simply too great; preventing a nuclear Iran must remain our highest priority.
I appreciate your leadership on this critically important issue.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer